Write a 700-750-word (in the body of the text—no more or less) formal analysis.
Keep in mind, a formal analysis only addresses the Elements of Art and Principles of Design…it does not
address subject matter, meaning, or context. To do a formal analysis, you only need your eyes and a list (and
understanding) of the elements and principles, which are the subject of Part 2 of your text, the Weeks 2 and 3
video lectures, and Confab 2.
To complete this paper, follow these directions carefully:
1. Choose an artwork to analyze from the Mid-term Essay Assignment Images folder.
2. Review the above-mentioned materials to reacquaint yourself with the basics of formal analysis, if
3. To begin your analysis, just look at the work for a while with a list of the elements and principles in front of
you. Go through the list of principles and rank them according to their importance to your specific piece.
Afterward, go through the list of elements doing the same thing.
4. Then, ascertain whether the piece has unity or variety, and list which 3 elements are used to achieve it. After
this, choose what you think are the 2 most prominent principles relative to your artwork. Then, you will list the 3
most important elements the artist used to achieve these 2 principles. These will be those elements and
principles that are most obvious, most important to the visual experience of the work. (For example, you could
not discuss figure 4-27 without color or repetition; figure 6-7 would need to include line and time and motion; 7-
26 would need a discussion of pattern and rhythm; and so on.) Now you have your 3 principles and 3 elements
that are used by the artist to achieve those principles.
5. Next, you should write an outline, organizing your thoughts. Working from an outline is a “writing hack” that
few people use even though it is extremely effective. If you have a solid outline, the writing of the paper will go
more smoothly and the finished paper will be much more effective and clearly organized. And that is the
purpose of academic writing, to be clear in organization and writing.
6. Now, you are ready to write.
For the Mid-term Essay Assignment, you MUST follow this step-by-step format (failure to do so will result in a
1. Compose your heading. This should include:
Your Last Name, Your First Name
Art 1309-(Your class section number)
Mid-term Essay Assignment: Formal Analysis
2. Write your introduction. Begin with a one-sentence description of the artwork, including the artist’s name, title
of the painting, date and medium. Then, follow with one sentence listing the elements and principles you’ll be
3. After your introduction, take one paragraph to describe how your first principle is achieved through the use of
the three (3) elements. For example, if I am analyzing Henri Matisse’s Harmony in Red (The Red Room), I
would discuss how a sense of unity is created through the use of color (the all-over red that underlays
everything except the window in the upper-left), line (the repetition of organic lines that ties the composition
together), and value (in this case, the lack of it—the flattening of the image through the extraction of gradations
of light and dark). The key to this is that the elements and principles are inexorably connected to one another
and a formal analysis addresses how, for example, color can be used “in service” of any of the principles. Also,
you MUST highlight your keywords with bold print throughout the three (3) paragraphs of the body of your
4. Follow this first paragraph with two (2) more that do the same thing but with each of your other two (2)
principles and their respective three (3) elements.
5. Finally, conclude with a one-sentence summary of your paper.
AGAIN, IMPORTANTLY, do not address the subject matter or content of the work…those don’t belong in a
To submit your paper:
The paper will be attached in the Mid-term Paper dropbox in Blackboard as a Word document. Do not copyand-paste it into the textbox. If you do so, you will be required to re-submit correctly and will have 10 points
deducted from your grade. Click on the underlined title heading at the top of the page for the assignment
(If you don’t already have MS Office, download it for free at
10/11/2020 Order 327975056
Finally, and very importantly:
Use a Calibri font, size 12, with 1” margins, double-spaced.
The paper must be free of grammar/syntax and spelling errors. You must use correct punctuation as well. I
reserve the right to deduct up to 20 points for egregious errors and may also return a paper for re-writing if the
errors are pervasive.
Make sure you go through multiple “drafts” before submitting the final paper. We never, ever get it right the first
time. I sometimes go through dozens of revisions in my own writing before being satisfied. I also strongly
advise that you use the Writing Center to help you organize and revise your papers. Contact them at
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